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Overcoming an Addiction to the Insurance Bid!

August 21, 2019

Editor’s Note: In part one of this series, we studied our industry’s addiction to the insurance bid. Now in part two, we share the four step process that we call the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Plan.

Substance Free Strategy

The Beyond Insurance Treatment Plan begins with two potent, soul-searching and enlightening tools – the Diminished Value Snapshot™ and The Prosperity Gap™. Both strategies allow the insurance addict to gain a sense of clarity, simplicity, purpose and passion. For the first time, they are able to see the flaws of The Insurance Bid on their time, reputation, confidence and money.

The Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers are nationally recognized for their ability to use the Risk Management Process as a means of rehabilitation. The Risk Management Process is a systematic methodology for assessing and treating accidental loss exposures. It is the addicted producer’s understanding of, and appreciation for, the Risk Management Process which reduces his or her dependency on The Insurance Bid. The purity and logic of the Risk Management Process shifts the producer’s mindset from insurance to risk and risk management.

Addicted producers gain immediate energy and confidence in their ability to control the outcome of risk. The identification, assessment, measurement and prioritization of risks become the therapy for the disorder. Let’s take a close look at the four steps of the Beyond Insurance® rehab process:

Step 1 – Identifying Loss Exposures

The first and most important step of the Risk Management Process involves identifying and analyzing loss exposures that interfere with the achievement of an organization’s goals. Simply put, this step of rehab begins with a curiosity and desire to understand the inner workings of a business. As the insurance addict learns about a business, he or she is positioned to identify and analyze risk issues.

In the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers, patients are taught consultative and diagnostic strategies to identify, measure and prioritize exposures to loss. Recognizing that losses vary from minor accident to major catastrophes, Step 1 of the Risk Management Process uncovers the types of risks to which the organization is vulnerable and determines how well positioned the company is to control a loss should one occur.

Step 2 – Strategies to Mitigate Loss Exposures

Once the addicted producer has developed a thorough understanding of a business, including its industry, corporate culture and operating procedures, he or she is ready to move beyond insurance to explore strategies to minimize risk and, thereby, reduce insurance costs.

It is the comprehensive understanding of the business (Step 1) that uniquely positions the producer to explore a spectrum of methods to improve an organization’s “risk profile.”

Step 3 – Implementation of Programs

By the time the addicted producer gets to Step 3 of the rehab process, Beyond Insurance sees an amazing transformation. The burden of price and product has been lifted off their back. The former insurance addict now has an appreciation for, and understanding of, risk management. Confidence and self-image are now part of the makeup of the Beyond Insurance® Producer.

Step 3 involves putting in place specially tailored programs and strategies designed to protect the assets of a company while minimizing premium outlay. As you can imagine, underwriters adore the Process as it leads to a more rational and efficient allocation of financial and human capital. Positive reinforcement from the underwriting community helps the insurance addict stay clean.

Step 4 – Ongoing Monitoring and Adjustment of the Plan

Businesses are dynamic. What works today may not work tomorrow. It is for this reason that the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers prescribe risk management service plans, stewardship reviews and customer intimacy surveys to ensure a perfect fit as a business evolves and changes.

Step 4 of the Beyond Insurance® rehab process is most rewarding for Beyond Insurance. It is here where the addiction to The Insurance Bid is put to rest.

The 800+ patients who have come through the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers demonstrate a renewed sense of clarity, simplicity, purpose and passion for their business and personal lives. They are no longer living in an intoxicated state dominated by price and product. Their heads are clear to focus on what their clients so desperately need – a diagnostic advisor who is focused on risk identification and mitigation.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

 

 

The Addiction that is Crippling our Industry… The Insurance Bid!

August 18, 2019

Over the past ten years, Beyond Insurance has treated over 1,650 at the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers (i.e. workshops).  Our patients are typically bright, well-educated, dedicated, attractive, community-minded producers, sales managers and agency principals who have become addicted to “The Insurance Bid.”

Our patients enter the two-day session frustrated, angered and demoralized.  Their confidence and self-image have been rattled.  The addiction to The Insurance Bid has them caught in the “commodity trap” – the 90-day insurance bidding process.  They are fighting an uphill battle against commoditization.  Commoditization occurs when the consumer perceives little or no distinguishable difference between products, services and resources.  When this happens, price becomes the primary differentiator.  Picture commoditization as a disease that eats away at one’s knowledge, wisdom and professionalism.  It so cruel and debilitating that it strips away the value proposition of even the most seasoned producer – his or her professional purpose for existence – to a number.

Prior to attending a Beyond Insurance® workshop, each patient is asked to complete a confidential “10 Question Beyond Insurance® Survey.”  This Survey facilitates our ability to understand the level of addiction so a treatment plan may be developed.  As you can imagine, we see serious cases of “performance erosion” as measured by reduced new business hit ratios, substandard retention, random cross selling strategies, no referrals and key accounts under renewal competition.  The following represent three of the ten statements that are asked on the Beyond Insurance® Survey:

  • Statement #1:  My prospect research and qualification system screens out commodity shoppers.
  • Statement #2:  My sales process protects me from getting caught in the “commodity trap” – the 90-day insurance blitz.
  • Statement #3: I am enthusiastic and energized by my business model, systems and growth strategies.

Over 80% of the patients at the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers, respond “no” to the statements listed above.  The addiction to The Insurance Bid is impacting their personal and business careers.  Addiction is defined as a state intoxication produced by repeated consumption of a drug.  Its characteristics include: (1) an overpowering compulsion to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by any means; (2) a tendency to increase the dose; (3) a psychological and generally physical dependence on the effects of the drug; and (4) detrimental effects on the individual and on society.”

Impact from the Addiction

The impact of The Insurance Bid on producers, sales managers and agency principals is serious and long lasting as measured by the loss of time, reputation, confidence and money.

Time

Insurance addicts spend the vast majority of their time focused on renewal dates. These insurance junkies copy policies, dig for claim data, perform market research, design specifications and beg underwriters for the “best deal.” They get high on price and product. Their lives are consumed on uncovering the lowest bid to satisfy the appetite of the consumer. The addicted producer frequently comes in second place and has a tolerance to return the next year. Their delusional personality and compulsion to The Insurance Bid gives them false hope and a tendency to increase the dose to satisfy their addiction.

Most patients who come to the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers have new business hit ratios under 50%. More than half of their professional lives are wasted in search of a number. How tragic! It is no wonder that the insidious effects of The Insurance Bid are crippling producers and those who standby them – sales managers, account executives, insurance carriers, family and friends to name a few.

Reputation

Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, once said “the way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” Reputation defines who you are in the eyes of those you serve. Your reputation is the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.

The producer addict has allowed The Insurance Big to frame his or her reputation.

Confidence

The confidence levels of producers who come to Beyond Insurance® Treatment Centers are depleted as they lack control over the outcome of the insurance bidding process. It is this inability to “feel in control” that creates tension, anger and low self-esteem.

Sadly, addicts with low self-confidence live in a vicious circle. Their lack of confidence makes it difficult to be in control. And their inability to experience control brings on self-doubt and negativity.

Money

Successful producers reap significant financial rewards. Their ability to make a lot of money is a real motivator.

The producer addict, on the other hand, is frustrated with his or her compensation as there is little correlation between effort and financial rewards.

Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this addiction and in our next post, we breakdown the Beyond Insurance® Treatment Plan.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

Work Ethic… The Character Trait That Moves Mountains or Clouds One’s Perspective on Life

August 15, 2019

Work ethic is a set of values based on hard work and diligence.  It is also the belief in the moral benefit of work and the ability to enhance one’s character.

The Four D’s of Work Ethic

The characteristics of work ethic can best be communicated through the following Four D’s:

  1. Desire:  How badly do you want it?  How important is it that you accomplish your missions or goals?
  2. Dedication:  Turning desire into action, which requires lasting commitment.  How dedicated are you to your goals and dreams?
  3. Determination:  This represents the intensity through which you are dedicated to the accomplishment of your goals.  How determined are you?
  4. Discipline:  Allows you to make the most of what you have.  Discipline is action oriented.  It is deciding how you will go about achieving your goals by staying with your strategy.

A number of years ago, I had a meeting with a Dutch client. He was telling me about his upcoming four-week family vacation. I said something like, “Wow, four weeks!” And he said, “Yeah, that only leaves me with three weeks of vacation for the rest of the year.”

I then asked him how many years he has been working to save up that amount of vacation time. He did not understand what I meant. “Seven weeks’ vacation is typical in the Netherlands,” he said. “How many weeks do people in the United States get”? I told him that two weeks was standard and three weeks would be offered after 10 or so years of dedicated service. My Dutch friend was astounded.

Paid Vacation Graph

Our conversation moved to the concept of work ethic. As I proudly defended the importance of hard work and 50 plus hour weeks, he seemed perplexed. While he readily admitted desire, dedication, determination, and discipline were ingredients to success in the workplace, he stressed the importance of balance. In the 15 nations of the European Union, by law, all full time employees must be given a minimum of four weeks paid vacation per year; the same is true for part-time employees who have worked for at least 13 weeks. Let’s compare this to the United States.

Avg Days

Counting shorter work weeks and longer vacations, the average European gets nine weeks (350 hours) more free time than American’s per year according to The Simplicity Forum.

Since the late 1970’s, the expression of “work life balance” has emerged to make employees and employers aware that there needs to be a tradeoff between how one spends time and energy between work and home. Research has evidenced the perceived problems with excessive work. A Finnish-led study found that those working more than 55 hours a week had poorer mental skills than those who worked a standard work week.

Historical Perspective

The cultural norm placed on the positive value of doing a good job because work has intrinsic value for its own sake is a relatively recent development.  From much of history, work ethic has had a negative connotation.

The Greeks viewed work as a curse.  The Greek word for work was ponos, taken from the Latin poena which means sorrow.  The Greek belief was that a person’s wisdom and morality was directly proportional to their leisure time.  A person who worked, when there was no need to do so, was blurring the line between slave and master.  The philosopher Aristotle viewed work as a corrupt waste of time that would make a citizen’s pursuit of virtue more difficult.

The Romans adopted a similar belief system to the Greeks.  For the Romans, work was to be done by slaves.  In both the Greek and Roman cultures, social status was related to the work a person did.  Any pursuit of handicrafts or the use of one’s arms was considered vulgar, dishonorable and beneath the dignity of a Roman citizen.

The fall of the Roman Empire marked the beginning of the period known Middles Ages (approximately 400 AD to 1400 AD).  During this time period, work still held no intrinsic value.  The function of work was solely to meet the physical needs of one’s family and community.  While work was frowned upon, wealth was recognized as an opportunity to share with those less fortunate.

As a result of the political and religious upheaval in western Europe in the 16th century, a new perspective on work evolved.  It was believed that people could serve God through their work, that professions were useful, that work was the universal base of society and the reason behind differing social classes.  It was understood that people should work diligently in their own occupation.  They should not try to change from the profession in which they were born.  Two key leaders influenced the development of the western culture during this period – Martin Luther and John Calvin.  For Luther, a person’s vocation was his calling.  Calvin taught that all men must work, even the rich.  Selection of an occupation and pursuing it to achieve the greatest possible profit was encouraged.

The early adventurers who first discovered America were searching, not for a place to work and build a new land, but for a new Eden where abundance and riches would allow them to follow Aristotle’s view of the world.  However, this mindset quickly changed as the New England Puritans and the Pennsylvania Quakers settled in America.  Both brought the belief that life was one of hard work and determination.  They approached the task of building a new world in the wilderness as an opportunity to prove their own moral worth.

When the Europeans visited the new world in the early 1800’s, they were astounded by the work ethic of those who lived in America. By the mid-19th century, the idea of work as a calling had been replaced by the concept of public usefulness.  People were lead to believe that poverty and decay would befall the country if people failed to demonstrate a positive work ethic.  It was the social duty of each and every person to be productive.  It was also believed that one could master his own fate through determination and discipline.

The Protestant work ethic made a positive case for work, but the negative connotations of work have come to the fore in the past three decades through the discussion of work-life balance.

Work ethic is truly a dilemma in the United States. Without work, most Americans would lose a significant part of our sense of purpose and social connection. Moreover, it is because of work that we can actually enjoy leisure time.

What is driving you to work so hard? Unfortunately, insecurity, inequality and the competitive nature of the US marketplace pushes people to work harder than ever. As you move ahead in your career, it is important that you consider the pluses and minuses of work ethic… is it a character trait which moves mountains or clouds one’s perspective on life?

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace

 

 

 

 

 

To Be a Better Risk Advisor, Become a Better Storyteller

August 12, 2019

Editor’s Note: In our previous post on storytelling, we looked at its history and effectiveness and  why it matters to you, the risk advisor. Now in part two, we look at why people are intrigued by a good story and five steps that will help to make you a better storyteller.

Stories Inspire Action

Storytelling has become a lost art in the business world.  According to Riley Gibson in Three Reasons to Master the Art of Storytelling (Inc. 2014), ‘Instead of taking the time to craft captivating stories, most business professionals create dreary PowerPoint presentations filled with facts, jargon, buzzwords and graphs.  PowerPoint is killing your ability to tell a good story.”

If you are intrigued by the lost art of storytelling, consider the following:

Stories are Memorable.  When you are able to present facts and information framed by a compelling story, you will not only hold the attention of your audience, you will make this information more memorable.  Just ask Julie Roehm, whose title is “Chief Storyteller” of B2B software company, SAP.  She states, “Write a story you could tell to anyone, anywhere.  Make it so simple that anyone from a child in kindergarten to the Chairman of the Board can understand.”

Stories connect us.  When your stories are memorable, they will travel further because they are easy for listeners to recount in the future.  Stories build deeper connections, make you more trustworthy and humanize you.  When your story is told, a human face is put on a complex problem.

Stories make your message unique.  Your story makes your value proposition…your unique message come alive.  It sets you apart in the marketplace.  According to Forrester Research, only 23% of consumers trust television ads, only 20% trust ads in magazines or on the radio.  And, only 16% trust information on an organization’s website.  When we think we are being sold to, we stop listening, back up, arms folded.  Yet when we are told a story, we listen.  We want to hear what happens next.

Stories produce experiences.  Stories create a lasting impression because they go deeper than facts and figures.  When you create a story, your customers gain an impression of your products, services, and resources that sits deep in their hearts – unlike numbers that barely linger in the periphery of their busy minds.

Stores inspire action.  Research substantiates that stories move customer’s hearts and minds in the direction of the storyteller. Think about ‘Hallmark moments’ that tug on heartstrings.  Or the Thai Life Insurance video “Unsung Hero” that went viral and has more than 22 million viewers on YouTube.

A 5-Step Process[1]

Julie Roehm suggests you break down storytelling into the following 5-step process:

Step 1.  Who are you talking about?  Describe the customer and give them something real.

Step 2.  Define the problem or opportunity in simple terms.  Discover what keeps your customer awake at night and clearly and concisely provide a solution.

Step 3.  What is it that (your company) can do to help solve that problem?  Again, in simple terms without buzzwords or jargon, give the customer a sense of what you can do to help them.

Step 4.  What does solving this problem do?  Or what does your customer think solving this problem will do for them?  What can your customer do now (that the problem is solved) that they couldn’t do before?  How does your involvement impact their business, industry, and life?

Step 5.  What’s the customer’s customer story?  Show how your customer’s customer will be impacted (i.e., how their life will change or experience improve) because you delivered something better.

Told any good stories lately?

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

[1] Carmody, Bill. “How to Grow by Becoming an Expert Storyteller.” Inc. 21 Oct. 2014. Web.

Told Any Good Stories Lately?

August 9, 2019

Titanic.  The Great Escape.  Schlindler’s List.  Ray.  The Pursuit of Happyness.

What do these blockbuster movies have in common?  They are all based on a true story.

In a world filled with sound bites, ads, 140-character tweets, we seem to forget the power of storytelling.  Yet, when we tap into storytelling, we become irresistible!

What is storytelling?  And why does it have such impact?  A statement by the National Storytelling Network (www.storynet.org), an organization whose mission is to advocate for the preservation and growth of the art of storytelling, defines storytelling as an ancient art form and valuable form of human expression.

At its core, storytelling is the art of using language, vocalization and/or physical movement and gesture to reveal the elements and images to a specific, live audience.  A story is best defined as a narrative account of a real or imagined event.  The word telling involves direct contact between teller and listener.  The teller’s role is to prepare and present the necessary language, vocalization and physicality to effectively and efficiently communicate the images of the story.  The listener’s role, on the other hand, is to actively create vivid, multi-sensory images, actions, characters and events – the reality — of the story in his or her mind based on the performance of the teller and other past experiences, beliefs and understandings.  The completed story happens in the mind of the listener, unique and personal for each individual. (Sametz, Fall 2003)

Storytelling is one of the most powerful skills you can possess.  A story well told can make you smile, laugh, cry, swell up with pride, or rise with indignation.

The History and Research on Storytelling 

Storytelling has a rich history, dating back to the Stone Age where stories were told around the fires, and the cave walls were illustrated to depict the stories.  Storytelling became an art form to the ancient Greeks, and epic stories were passed from one generation to another.

But we don’t have to go that far back to see the power of storytelling.  Think back to your childhood when you begged your parents to read just “one more” favorite story – the one you knew by heart.  Why did you want to hear it again and again?  Perhaps because it captivated your interest by giving you a dramatic presentation of a situation, showed you how the characters solved a problem, and instilled positive and negative consequences of those choices.  Storytelling has held the short attention spans of children for centuries.  Teachers have found that storytelling improves students’ creativity and listening skills.

Storytelling evokes a strong neurological response.  According to Paul Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont University, our brains produce more stress-induced cortisol during tense moments.  When we see something cute or hear a happy ending to a story, our brain releases dopamine – which makes us feel more euphoric, hopeful, and optimistic.

Johns Hopkins researchers, Keith Quesenberry and Michael Coolsen, discovered “people are attracted to stories because we’re social creatures and we relate to other people.”

Researchers have also uncovered that the human mind turns experiences into a story in an attempt to remember things.  Called a mnemonic device, humans almost always translate information into a form that the brain can retain – better than its original form.    Researchers have found that mnemonics work best if they evoke a visual image.  When people need to learn a complex subject, they can most rapidly acquire knowledge by making up and vividly picturing a story about the topic.

Does Your Story Matter?

Stories create buzz.  The more buzz about your product or service, obviously the more awareness there is about your brand.  And the more awareness, the higher the probability of being in that top-of-mind position.

If your story matters, it will be shared, retold and passed on.  By doing what matters and telling a story that matters, you will ignite a passion amongst people that is inherently shareable and provide a gigantic boost to your firm’s growth and long-term viability.  So, the million-dollar question is, have you crafted your story in a manner whereby others are likely to share?  Let’s take a look at two examples[1]:

  1. Blake Mycoskie, the CEO of Tom’s Shoes and author of Start Something that Matters, gave one pair of shoes to disadvantaged children for each pair sold.  In South America, he gave away 10,000 pair of shoes.  And, to date, has given away more than 1 million pair in 40 countries.  Why buy his shoes?  Because in addition to comfort and style, you are helping to put shoes on children in need throughout the world.
  2. In 1970, Nike designated their executives “corporate storytellers” as part of its corporate culture.  The stories the company’s leaders told ranged from recounting the company history to tales of people simply getting things accomplished.  Imagine hearing the story of how Nike founder, Bill Bowerman went to his workshop one day after a brainstorm session and poured shoe rubber into the family waffle iron.  That was the birth of the famous Nike waffle sole.

Whether it’s sharing your value proposition or selling shoes, storytelling is a powerful tool that can mean the difference between extraordinary status and just being another brand.

In our next post, not only will we look at how PowerPoint presentations have killed storytelling, but we will also share five steps to becoming a better storyteller.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

[1] Carmody, Bill. “How to Grow by Becoming an Expert Storyteller.” Inc. 21 Oct. 2014. Web.

7 Secrets to Peak Producer Performance

August 6, 2019

By: F. Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA

In my role as an Agency Transformer, I have had the opportunity to coach and mentor, and learn from numerous Peak Performance Producers.  I define a Peak Performer as one who is maximizing his or her potential for success.  Peak Performers go about their business with clarity and a sense of excitement, purpose, passion and pride.  While these individuals come from all walks of life and have differing skill sets, they share the following “7 Secrets to Peak Performance.”

Secret #1 – It’s Not About the Insurance Sale

Peak Performance Producers have a different view of work than the average business development specialist.  Peak Performers move about life with a purpose far beyond the sale of insurance.  There is great meaning to their profession.  They see themselves as missionaries whose work is to protect the assets of those whom they serve.  The insurance transaction is nothing more than a small piece of their delivery platform.

Unlike the Peak Performer, the average producer cannot see beyond the insurance transaction to comprehend the meaning and magnitude of his or her work.  They get bogged down in price and product – the commodity.  They cannot appreciate the beauty and purity of their mission.

Peak Performers relish the fact that they are in the business to create “an experience” for those whom they serve.  While each has value added tools and strategies to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, it is their ability to create “an experience” that separates them from the competition.  Products and services can easily be commoditized, unique experiences cannot.

Peak Performers often ask the question “Is my performance memorable?”  It is their dedication to go above and beyond value added services that separate them from the competition.

Secret #2 – Relational Capital

Peak Performers build deep, long lasting relationships.  They understand that relationships are rarely pursued and captured.  Rather, relationships are rooted in a rich soil consisting of a blend of mutual trust, respect and shared values.  Fully grown, relationships produce bonds and connections that enhance both parties’ opportunity to succeed.

The Peak Performance Producer is an expert at creating Relational Capital consisting of credibility, integrity and authenticity.  The degree to which the Peak Performer delivers Relational Capital is best demonstrated through customer intimacy and loyalty as evidenced by high hit ratios, retention, referrals and cross sell opportunities.

Peak Performers know how to turn their Relationship Network into a referral machine. The great myth of networking is that you reach out to others only at the time of need. This is incorrect. Peak Performance Producers built their network long before they needed anything at all. Creating a community is not a short term solution or a one off activity only to be used when necessary. It begins with a predetermined plan and a strategy to carry it out. The strategy is built upon the constant process of connecting – of offering and asking for help. When you put people in touch with one another and give your time, expertise and share freely, the pie gets bigger for everyone.

Secret #3 – Visions and Goals

The ability to create visions and set goals is essential to the success of Peak Performance Producers.  Visions allow them to see themselves at some point in the future, while goals offer a road map to reach those visions.  The Peak Performer understands that there is nothing more rewarding than having visions, setting goals to reach those visions and focusing in as the visions become reality.

Goal-setting is a powerful process of becoming clear about the Peak Performer’s ideal future, designing an action plan to get there, launching into action and persisting until the destination is reached.  The Peak Performer has a knack of turning their vision into reality.

Peak Producer Performers live each day with a sense of clarity, confidence, purpose and passion.  Why?  Because they have learned the art of visioning and goal-setting to:

  • Decide what is important in his or her life
  • Decide what they want to achieve
  • Separate what is important from what is irrelevant
  • Be motivated
  • Facilitate his or her ability to benchmark progress
  • Gain self-confidence as their goals become reality

The average producer does not appreciate the importance of visioning or goal-setting.  Because they lack a goal-setting navigation system, they have little control over their destination.

Secret #4 – Unique Message

Peak Performers articulate how they create value through their unique message which takes the form of a value proposition which is clear, concise and compelling.  It serves as the reason for their professional existence.  It is an irresistible offer – an invitation that is so attractive that the customer would be out of his or her mind to refuse the offer.  The Peak Performer’s unique message goes beyond functional product or service descriptions to express the tangible results that the customer can expect to achieve.  With a distinguished value proposition, the Peak Performer is unique and indispensable.  Without a compelling message, he or she is ordinary and disposable.

Secret #5 – Criteria Filter

The criteria filter is the Peak Performers tool to screen out price shoppers. It is a means to determine if the prospective client meets or falls below his or her standards. Why is the criteria filter so important? Because it protects the five essentials to peak performance – time, reputation, confidence, money and relationships.

Unlike the typical producer who has a random approach to prospect research and qualification, the Peak Performer’s approach is disciplined and strategic. He or She knows what is at risk. The criteria filter gives the Peak Performer a distinct “Home Field Advantage” – favorable conditions that increase their winning percentage.

Secret #6 – Work/Life Balance

Peak Performers make room in their busy lives to take care of their physical and mental well being.  The Peak Performer will not let the demands of their work infringe upon the quality and quantity of time they spend with family, friends, hobbies and community.  Work/life balance is essential to their success.  This equilibrium among all priorities allows them to charge ahead with clarity and energy.

Work/life balance is a differentiator in the performance of producers.  The intense, competitive business climate has created a corporate culture that demands more and more to get ahead.  Taking time to recharge one’s batteries is an essential ingredient to work/life balance.

Secret #7 – The Inner Game

The Inner Game consists of mental toughness, commitment, motivation, positive attitude and self-discipline.  The Peak Performer not only knows how to play the “Inner Game,” they know how to win.  Peak Performers stay focused and know how to deal with adversity.  They understand the importance of controlling their emotions.  It is this inner strength that allows them to achieve peak performance even in the most pressure packed situations and in the toughest of times.

Peak Performance success doesn’t just happen.  It is a result of dedication, determination and sacrifice.  Commitment starts in the Peak Performer’s heart and soul.  It gives them inspiration to carry forward even when confronted with challenge and turbulence.

The most noteworthy attribute of peak performance is attitude.  Attitude is a choice which has a profound impact on the performance of the Peak Producer.  A positive attitude gives him or her a competitive edge while a negative attitude impairs performance.  Attitude is a distinguishing factor between the average and Peak Performance Producer.  Peak Performers are also highly disciplined.  This is evidenced by the manner in which they set priorities and design their lifestyle.

It is the “7 Secrets to Peak Producer Performance” that enables the Peak Producer to maximize his or her potential for success.  It is no wonder that Peak Producers go about life with a sense of confidence, purpose, passion and pride.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.

10 Secrets for Building and Growing Your Network

August 4, 2019

Editor’s Note: In part one of our series on networking, we looked at the real-life story of Sam, a 37-year-old producer with an incredible track record of success. Sam took the time to carefully build and nurture his network. Now in part two, we look at 10 of Sam’s secrets for networking success.

  1. Discover your unique abilities and value proposition in the marketplace. Deliver a process to uncover issues to solve other people’s problems.
  2. Put together a personal board of advisers. Consider experienced business leaders with wisdom and the ability to mentor.  Seek out role models with experience, wisdom and a gift of sharing.
  3. Be patient. Networks take time to develop.
  4. Think of networking as collecting friends who share your passion to serve others.
  5. Get involved in activities which interest you. Assume leadership roles when the occasion arises.
  6. Figure out who are the super connectors in your community (i.e., CPAs, attorneys, head hunters, etc.)
  7. Establish a relationship management system to stay in contact with your network.
  8. Take risks. You must be willing to take some risks in connecting.  The worst anyone can say is “No.”
  9. Networking is not a numbers game. It is strategic, thoughtful and deliberate.
  10. Generosity is the key. Remember to give before you receive.

A powerful network is not exclusive to insurance agents and brokers.  Attorneys, accountants, bankers, investment advisers and other professionals benefit from the process of connecting.  Your potential for connecting at this moment is bigger than you ever imagined.  All around you are golden opportunities to develop relationships with people you know who know people you don’t know.  The act of connecting with your circle of clients, family and friends is powerful and exhilarating.

Sam’s quality of life reflects the power of a network.  It is evidenced by his 80% new business hit ratio, retention and the number of qualified referrals.  He refuses to cold call or knock on doors.  He doesn’t need to.  “Why make our business more difficult than it needs to be?” states Sam.  “The challenge of cold calling is credibility.  An introduction from a member of my network gives me instant credibility and enhances my ability to establish a relationship.  The relationship I have with my network is an expression of who I am and what I have to offer.  Nothing else compares.  A warm relationship combined with my unique process allows me to ‘live my dream’.”

Step back.  Look around you.  You have the potential for an amazing network sitting in front of you.  Begin by helping others succeed.  Your generosity is the key.

About the Author

Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.  Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.